Symposium 7: Emerging Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Minority Families and Relationships

  • 9:30 am To 11:00 am on July 21, 2019
  • Terrace Room Bramber House

Emerging Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Minority Families and Relationships

The last decade has witnessed a tremendous amount change in the social climate surrounding the families and relationships of sexual and gender minority individuals. The contributions in this symposium will highlight emerging theoretical and methodological advancements in the study of sexual and gender minority couples and families using a diverse array of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method designs in research from the UK, US, and broader European context. The resulting new empirical findings will demonstrate the complicated ways in which the changing social climate has shaped the relational experiences of sexual and gender minority individuals.

The Association between Couple-level Minority Stress and Mental Health among Same-sex Couples

Minority stress refers to social stressors that uniquely affect disadvantaged populations. Same-sex couples are exposed to unique forms of minority stress, which are thought to represent a risk to sexual minority individuals’ health, above and beyond the risk associated with the stigma they experience as individuals. This presentation reports two dyadic studies demonstrating support for this theory of “Couple-Level Minority Stress.” Implications will be discussed regarding the need to address the role of couple-level minority stress in counseling and clinical interventions for people in same-sex relationships.

Self-Reported Discrimination Is Associated with Decreased Likelihood of Romantic Relationship Involvement among Sexual Minority Men

The aim of the current research was to test whether self-reported discrimination is associated with decreased likelihood of romantic relationship involvement among sexual minority men. We conducted four studies to test this association. Across studies, evidence indicated that greater self-reported discrimination was indeed predictive of decreased likelihood of romantic relationship involvement. This association was robust to the inclusion of internalized homophobia (another important minority stressor), appeared in a longitudinal design, and replicated in various samples of sexual minority men in the United States and across the European Union. The implications of discrimination for sexual minority relationship formation will be discussed.

The Perspectives of Children and Young People with a Transgender Parent

This paper presents findings from a study of transgender parent families. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirty children and young adults aged between 5-18 years (mean = 11.96, SD = 3.36), all of whom had a transgender parent, and the majority of whom (n=28, 93%) had experienced their parent’s transition. Data were analysed using theoretically-driven thematic analysis. Three main themes, highlighting different relational dynamics, were identified: dyadic (between parent and child); triadic (between parents and child); and holistic (between parent, child, and the wider social world). Findings will be discussed in relation to theories of family communication (Galvin, 2006), and family ‘display’ (Finch, 2007).

Children with Trans Parents: Parent-Child Relationship Quality and Child Psychological Adjustment

Of the adult trans population, it is estimated that between 25-49% of individuals are parents, yet little is known about parent-child relationships in families with trans parents. Using a multi-method, multi-informant approach, this paper presents findings from 35 trans parents and 25 children (8-18 years). The paper examines parent-child relationship quality and child psychological adjustment in trans parent families and explores factors associated with parent-child relationship quality. Findings indicate good parent-child relationship quality and good child adjustment, with relationship quality predicted by parenting stress, quality of parenting and parental gender-related rejection, but not the timing of the parent’s transition.